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‘Last Man Down’ review: Bringing action the way it used to be

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Last Man Down is further proof that there will be pandemic movies of all sorts over the next few years. Civilization has been ravaged by a deadly disease. John Wood (Daniel Stisen) is a special forces officer who has decided to live life alone after his wife is murdered. When a woman named Maria Johnson (Olga Kent) appears at his doorstep, John decides to face his past.

This looks like an action movie straight out of the 1980s. Stisen looks positively enormous and could easily have faced off against Arnie or Sly during their primes. Old school action movie fans will appreciate the casting and the character. Last Man Down does not just have larger than life heroes, though. Big guns, big villains, and big fight scenes come one after the other. 

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Unlike the action fodder of the 80s, Last Man Down makes sure to give Maria some depth. There is not much more to the character other than being a bad ass, but that is all that is needed. (Naturally, John gets all the great one liners.) She is capable enough to take care of herself. The only reason she initially comes to John is because of the circumstances she is in. She is more than another hapless woman who needs saving.

For better and worse, the film knows its limitations. This is not a genre that requires strong performances, but it is particularly noticeable here. The best movies know how to accentuate the positives of their cast while downplaying the negatives. The actors here seem out of their elements in scenes that require more than punching or killing.. Last Man Down often seems to go out of its way to cover acting deficiencies. 

This does not make it a poorer movie, but it does make things unintentionally funny at times. Thankfully, Last Man Down has more than enough great combat scenes to keep things interesting the entire time. It invokes a strong sense of nostalgia without being derivative. One can only hope the sequel that is hinted at becomes a reality.

Last Man Down comes to digital and on demand October 19

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